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Can a Dress Code Be Racist?

Only if you assume everyone of a certain race dresses alike... which kind of makes you racist.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

July 8, 2014 - 11:58 pm

“It’s the new Jim Crow being enforced in a colorblind way.” So said Michelle Horovitz, speaking to a local Fox affiliate in Minneapolis. She aimed her reference at a dress code enforced at the downtown location of Bar Louie on weekend evenings. After 9pm Thursday through Saturday, patrons will not be admitted wearing flat-billed hats, sleeveless undershirts, “excessively baggy clothing,” long plain white t-shirts, athletic apparel, or sports jerseys. Critics like Imani Vincent call Bar Louie’s restrictions racist and discriminatory against blacks.

If you do not want African Americans to frequent your establishment, then maybe you should just say that and not just break it down to the dress code.

The story has been picked up nationally at outlets like The Blaze and The Huffington Post. Controversy and outrage spread.

The whole thing proves ridiculous on multiple fronts. Horovitz, who has led the public cry against Bar Louie for their dress code, may be outing her own racist assumptions. After all, what about a dress code makes it discriminatory against a particular race? Are black people born in sports jerseys? Are they physically incapable of wearing anything else?

Horovitz calls the code “the new Jim Crow being enforced in a colorblind way.” But that’s utter nonsense. A defining aspect of Jim Crow was its explicit racial discrimination. Another defining aspect was its status as a government mandate. Calling a private dress code “the new Jim Crow” indicates profound historical illiteracy.

I’m black. My wardrobe meets Bar Louie’s dress code. Presumably, if I show up at their door after 9pm on a weekend, they will welcome my business. Indeed, I may welcome their dress code. I may be looking for a particular experience on my night out, an ambiance free of pedestrian characters.

Downtown Minneapolis has developed a nasty reputation in recent years for violence in and around nightclubs and bars. One way for venues to prevent such violence is to enforce codes of dress and conduct. If certain styles have come to be associated with incidents of violence, then taking my business to a venue which bans those styles makes sense.

This is hardly a new phenomenon. I was enforcing dress codes as a nightclub bouncer fifteen years ago. Now it’s a national story?

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 14:49 minutes long; 14.28 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, and as president of the Minority Liberty Alliance. He hosts a daily podcast entitled Fightin Words, proudly hosted on Twin Cities Newstalk Podcast Network. Walter is a city council member in Albertville, MN. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Good article, Mr. Hudson....I suppose the owner(s) simply do not wish to draw the same crowds that have ruined our shopping malls. Watched much television lately? Yes, today's young, pissed-off 'youths' absolutely have a uniform, which is described accurately, and just like terrorists....nobody wants them around except the neo-commie democrats (watch video).

Remember BENGHAZI!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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Didn't she ever hear of a restaurant that was Coat and Tie only?

Actually, probably not.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Urban dictionary calls the act of wearing your pants so low that your underwear is prominently displayed is called "sagging". I just looked that up, because I never knew that. I always thought there was a different word to appropriately describe that.

"Guilty".
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sadly, people like Ms. Horovitz see Jim Crow lurking around every corner. And whose unceasing vigilants protects poor black folk from Jim Crow? People like Ms. Horovitz. Heroes in their own minds...

It's not about color - it's about culture.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Uh yeah, hasn't this woman heard of Grunge? Or for that matter, of white trash (including white trash spawned from well-to-do middle class and upper middle class families) dressing "like black people in the Hood"? I mean, that's only one of the most popular cultural trends of the last 25 years.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Calling a private dress code “the new Jim Crow” indicates profound historical illiteracy."

Perhaps not. It's may be simple dishonesty. These people are interesting specimens. It's hard to distinguish when we are observing actual ignorance, because so many of them ARE so profoundly, genuinely ignorant, or when we are observing willful obfuscation and actual lying, because so many of them practice both most of the time.

Intellectual honesty is a concept that does not even exist in their minds, except as one of many convenient props that may be employed from time to time, either as camouflage or as a club against opponents.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
A quick google of Ms. Michelle Horovitz's background shows her to be a far left activist lawyer (public defender of course) that is now a Twin Cities social justice food activist. Any real surprise she would leap immediately into racial grievance mode? I grew up in Mpls, spent my early 20's in varied nightclubs and such there. A recent visit back and conversations with my family in the area do indeed show that nightclubs and bars have had problems with violence and young(er) idiots that would often dress as described in the video.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good article, Mr. Hudson....I suppose the owner(s) simply do not wish to draw the same crowds that have ruined our shopping malls. Watched much television lately? Yes, today's young, pissed-off 'youths' absolutely have a uniform, which is described accurately, and just like terrorists....nobody wants them around except the neo-commie democrats (watch video).

Remember BENGHAZI!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The neo-commie democrats don't want them around themselves, they want them around other people.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Touche'
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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